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Why Has Winter Arrived So Late?

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(credit: CBS) Matt Brickman
Matt Brickman is the co-host of WCCO-TV Saturday Morni...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After three months of a whole lot of nothing, Minnesotans are looking at this winter with a raised eyebrow.

“You know, I’m still waiting for winter to start,” said Bob Macdonald, who has lived in Minnesota 37 years.

Native Minnesotan, Anne Passon has a similar take.

“I feel like I should go put on my bathing suit and sunbathe.”

These aren’t the sort of things you’d expect to hear with a week to go in February, but with only 18 inches of snow recorded at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport all season, they’re not that strange.

At this time last season, we had more than 70 inches of snow. In fact, the storm that brought down the Dome dumped 17.1 inches on us, almost equal to this season’s total snow output.

But, with several snow storms giving us a chance to double our season’s output in just the next week, it begs the question: What changed?

“Probably the zonal flow, or something of that nature,” theorized Randy Althoff, a resident of Jordan, MN. “Those weather people come up with all these goofy names.”

Yes we do, Randy.

Essentially, the zonal flow he’s talking about means to move from west to east. When the jet stream is set up that way, storms have a tough time making it across the country without falling apart.

The opposite of zonal is meridional, which we’ve seen more of recently, and that set up gives storms a fighting chance.

If you’re still awake after reading that, there is another big factor, luck. A lot of storms have just plain missed us this year.

Looking forward, it’s not just next week that looks especially snowy. March is the third snowiest month of the year in the Twin Cities, averaging even more flakes than February.

The lesson here: Don’t drag out your spring wardrobe just yet.

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